Wildlife Rescue - How do you deal with it?

I live in a major city and it can be difficult to find people to help, even here. I used to find many birds, babies and ones injured by cats or people, and tried to get help with many of them. One of the wildlife organizations here had no interest in what they called “trash” birds, they only seemed to be focused on raptors, and it was hard to find help so I did the best I could with about a 50% success rate. I know how you feel, it’s hard to walk away from a living thing that you think is suffering and our instinct is to help if we can. After years of trying, I did find a few like-minded people so my advice is keep trying and looking for resources, and bless you for your concern.

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In New England people “RESCUE!” fawns that are found alone in the woods. In reality, they are hiding and waiting for their mother. The fawns get taken from their mother, then Fish and Wildlife has to deal with them.

If you don’t know about the animals, just leave them alone.

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Welcome to the Forum… you’ll find much to discuss here.

My question dealt with injured or sick animals, mostly due to human agency. Not with “rescuing” fawns and other sheltering wildlife. I have volunteered for a time at the local wildlife rehab (I did not last that long… really hard on my back). They say in a rather nice way, something similar to your idea… e.g., please leave that baby bird where it is… it’s mother is nearby.

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In Australia we have a number of wildlife rescue organisations. In Northern NSW, we have WIRES, they have emergency phone numbers, fridge magnets with their details, their website is: https://wiresnr.org/
Australian Seabird Rescue at http://seabirdrescue.org.au/, again emergency phone numbers and fridge magnets for ease of access.

In Australia, we also have/need a lot of snake catchers, and these organisations will also know what to do about injured reptiles, or will tell you who to contact … http://www.snakecatchers.com.au/

I have rescued an echidna from a bunch of dogs … very strong spiky animal but no match for three dogs … by encouraging it into a bucket and and carrying it to a nature reserve. Don’t try to kill an injured snake … in other words don’t get bitten …

You could carry an old towel or three in your car with you, store in a cardboard box which may be used to carry injured animal to a vet. Some smaller animals can carefully be picked up wrapped in towels if there is no hope of getting rescuers to the scene. Vets will always help, either to medicate or euthenase.

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Actually, I want to give your post many Likes :two_hearts::two_hearts::two_hearts: for so many different reasons.

Well done you on echidna rescue! How do you pronounce that?

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I think it’s “eck-ID-nuh” but could easily be wrong. If so I’m curious as well…

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I pronounce it E-kid-na or what you said.
Animals often are immobilised by fear, making them look critically injured.
Sometimes just taking away that stress will allow the animal to get better- A tawny frogmouth that got tangled up in an electric fence at my place was fine after a day in a dark place.
This bird was perfectly ok after being put in a box for a while.(he’s gasping for breath, not singing)

Sometimes it’s not a great idea to pick wild animals up- even usually docile animals will try to injure you if they can due to panic/fear. Do things safely! If you can’t do it, leave it. a lot of accidents happen when people attempt to save a dangerous critter.
Venomous snakes especially require a lot of care

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I recently had a frustrating experience with this. I kept hearing quiet mountain lion screaming from the property next door. After a half hour or so of this, I realized something was wrong. The sound was too quiet and went on for too long. It sounded like it was trapped. The property is a 40 acre vineyard with a 8 foot chain-link fence, so I couldn’t go look to see what the problem was (not that doing so would have been wise anyway) . The owners are absentee, so I couldn’t contact them. I made a number of calls with no help. SPCA said they only did small or domestic animals. Federal Fish and Wildlife said cougars aren’t a federally endangered species and it wasn’t on federal land, so not their problem. State of California Fish and Wildlife had a phone tree which lead to a voice mail box asking to me leave my name and number and they would get back to me (the did… the next day). The sheriff (who will come round up stray cattle) said cougars were a California protected species, so he couldn’t do anything unless it was endangering people.

I finally managed to get ahold of the property owners who called their caretaker. Apparently he had put a recording of a cougar on loop in the vineyard to scare off deer, so it ended OK, but it was a very frustrating experience to have no one who could or was willing to help.

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The most common injured animal for me to find is something that has been hit by a car. Usually they are beyond saving. I have been known to euthanize them and push them off the edge of the road so the recyclers can eat them in peace without having their own lives endangered by more cars.

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Wow, even Mt. Lions! How very frustrating how even such a magnificent, iconic animal seem pretty much to be “someone else’s problem”. And, yes, I feel that pain about the phone trees, redirects, messages that may or may not be answered in a timely fashion.

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“If you’d like a callback, please press one…” And then no callback ever occurs. I have learned just to stay on hold as long as it takes.

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Texas Parks and Wildlife discusses animal rescue and rehabilitation organizations and lists those by county:

https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/rehab/

Otherwise, you’re doing pretty well to carry gloves, pet carrier and cat food, but as previously suggested, carry old towels as well. You might want to upgrade your gloves to welder glove quality. Otherwise, you have most of the equipment you should need. You still have to use judgement in any decision to ‘rescue’ as you know. Follow the old saying First do no harm. I have had a few successful rescues over the years and a couple of unsuccessful, so there is no guarantee. My best one was the result of my own interaction with a critter, as too many are such as fawn ‘rescue’.

https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/billarbon/12018-a-rattlesnake-with-an-incredible-story

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Pushing them off the road is a good thing to do, if you can do that safely. There are a lot of creatures such as birds (crows, ravens, hawks, eagles) and (Tasmanian Devils) in Australia again, that eat carrion and will then also get injured or killed.

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I pronounce echidna as E-kid-nah

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Travelling overland, we often saw dead owls, who were hunting mice, who were eating wheat, spilled from trucks.

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Most of the “wildlife rescue” I do is when the occasional backyard critter has founds its way inside and is being chased by my indoors cats. Usually they are small animals (e.g. shrews, frogs, snakes, chipmunks, birds) and I’ve collected a variety of “critter keeper” containers from pickle jars with breathing holes punched into the lid to cardboard boxes to actual animal carriers. (One tip I’ve received from a herpetologist is to punch the holes from the inside to the outside of the lid to prevent sharp edges on the inside that could injure the animal.)

The first course of action is typically to safely separate the panicked critter from the excited cats by strategically closing doors or placing a container or towel over them. If it’s a bird or squirrel, it often works to get them into a room by themselves and then open the window and they’ll find their way out. In the case of mice or snakes, I’ve found they instinctively seek out the cover of a towel or cardboard box, which helps to put a barrier between them and the pursuing cats and safely scoop them up. Luckily my well-fed indoors cats seems to be more interested in the entertainment value of the hunt and not the kill. I occasionally tease them that I’m a better mouse-catcher than they are.

Of course if the cats catch the critter before I can, there’s often not much left to rescue any more. Some of the unfortunate dead victims have found their way into the university’s animal collection for teaching and research, but if they’re too mangled I just put them in a safe spot in the backyard to be found by scavengers. The local flock of crows usually takes care of the rest.

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It just breaks my heart when I see a dead vulture or coyote next to another dead animal on they road. They are scarce enough with being added to the road carnage.

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I have discovered one trick. If the listed phone number is, for example 555-555-5555, if you dial one number higher or lower (-5554 or -5556), you will often get a real human in the same office. Often it is even the right person. If it is not the right person they will often be able to connect you to the right person .

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